Councillor Wells asks community to reach out, get support, this World Suicide Prevention Day

There is help available in Stockport if you're having suicidal thoughts.

World Suicide Prevention Day serves as a reminder of the ways we have in Stockport to find someone to talk to when things are tough – even, or perhaps particularly, if talking isn’t your thing.

The Day is also an opportunity to bust common myths and understand the facts about suicide, which can help when supporting someone else.

No-one in Stockport should ever feel that suicide is their only option. Many of us don’t often talk about how we feel, and particularly men often find that difficult. People who have overcome suicidal feelings say that talking with someone you trust, for example a good friend, colleague, or family, was their first step. You can watch some of their stories.

Sometimes it is easier to speak to someone you don’t know. On Suicide Prevention Day, we want to remind Stockport residents of a range of ways locally to find an understanding, listening ear for anyone anxious, distressed, or feeling low - including the 24/7 Open Door helpline and Safe Haven in Stockport (ph: 0800 138 7276), a crisis text service (just text SHOUT to 85258 to get support from a trained crisis volunteer), and Togetherall, an online support forum for people who are stressed or anxious or feeling low.

Services like Samaritans (phone free on 116 123), or HopelineUK for young people (call 0800 068 4141 or text 07860039967) are invaluable, and if you are worried about suicidal feelings, please talk to someone.

Perhaps you are concerned about someone else who is feeling low or having a tough time. You don’t need to be a mental health practitioner to talk with or listen to them, but if you want help with supporting someone, there are helpful short courses you can watch online, such as the Suicide Let’s Talk programme by the Zero Suicide Alliance and NHS, or simple pointers on what you can do to help from the Samaritans.

Even just simply connecting with someone – perhaps a quick conversation to say ‘hello’ – can make a world of difference to someone’s emotional wellbeing and mental health.

Everyone, no matter how strong they appear on the outside, can feel low at some point. This year has been difficult for the entire community and I would really encourage people to check in on loved ones, not just today, but regularly.

It is also really important for you to look after yourself, whether that is by connecting with friends, with nature, with fun, your favourite music, exercise, or your favourite hobby.

There are ways we can all get the support we need, and the Council will continue its efforts to help those not feeling okay – from highlighting local services and the importance of your community, to lighting up Town Hall in green on World Suicide Prevention Day.

If you’re feeling low or having suicidal thoughts, or know someone who is, a range of support services can be found at the Shining A Light On Suicide site (https://www.shiningalightonsuicide.org.uk/), which also offers support for anyone bereaved by suicide, or the Council’s Wellbeing pages at https://www.stockport.gov.uk/wellbeingcoronavirus

For more information on World Suicide Prevention Day, including ways you can support, visit https://www.iasp.info/wspd2020/